Letters to the Editor

Bomb questions

December 12, 2007


To the editor:

Inspired by the Dec. 7 letter from Brent Garner concerning Iran and its alleged nuclear weapons program, I have some questions for us. Which big country in the world has been developing bunker-buster bombs? Will we test the bombs? Do we have hundreds of these bombs? Thousands? Are they expensive? Are we crazy?

Andy Timmons,



Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

Invading Iran is equally as stupid as invading Iraq!

Since Saddam was brought down: 1,000,000 Iraq people have died 4,000 USA soldiers have died Approximately 30,000 USA soldiers are permanently disabled Vets are having difficulty getting the med care they need and Bush has VA budget cuts scheduled for 2009-2010

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1681119,00.html http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0110/dailyUpdate.html *http://www.democracynow.org/2004/6/3/black_gold_controlling_global_oil_from

Brent Garner 10 years, 6 months ago

I am Brent Garner. I am the one who wrote the letter to the editor regarding the NIE. Mr. Timmons, you claim to be inspired by my letter. My letter asked an obvious question not answered by the NIE.

You appear to disapprove of the US developing "bunker buster" warheads. The real issue, is deterrence and keeping our deterring threat viable. No doubt you have heard of the acronym MAD -- Mutually Assured Destruction. Under this concept, no nuclear armed nation will use nuclear weapons against another nuclear armed nation because both sides retain the ability to destroy the other. This means both sides can credibly threaten assets the other side values. The US can currently threaten assets the Russians and Chinese value, such as leadership cadres. Currently, we can make sure that the other side's leaders will die if they are foolish enough to initiate a nuclear war. But deterrence is not a static. Both sides seek ways to protect those assets. The Russians deployed ABMs around Moscow to protect their leaders. Both sides have built very deep underground bunkers to protect key leaders/industries. The bunkers are hundreds feet underground and built of heavily reinforced concret stressed to resist very high pressures. Our current warheads have limited effectiveness against these bunkers. Thus we need different weapons. The development of such weapons is NOT as irrational as it would appear for if deterrence fails, the risk of war increases.

Now, before you, or anyone, else launches into a diatribe regarding the current US effort at ballistic missle defence, permit me a further explanation. The current US program is limited to approximately 12 interceptor missiles. Additional missiles are planned. However, when one considers that the missle deliverable (ICBM/SLBM/cruise) warheads on each side number in the thousands, 12 or even 100 interceptor missiles do not seriously undermine the other side's deterrent capability. They do, however, completely eliminate a limited launch success probability such as might come from North Korea or Iran. Neither country posses currently nor is likely to in the future, the large numbers of ICBM class missiles possessed by the US, Russian, or PRC.

Tom Miller 10 years, 6 months ago

...don't think I've EVER had the (pleasant) experience of totally agreeing with TWO "posters" in a row, back to back...well said, gentlemen, well said.

Brent Garner 10 years, 6 months ago

To Madmike:

I realize there are people who go with the emotional response without thinking. However, I have always believed in at least attempting to calmly correct misconceptions. I do not waste my time nor energy on folks who just want to scream and rant. I have much better things to do.

I appreciate your's and Tmkatt's kind words. Maybe, if a rational discussion can begin we can talk people out of their highly strident, partisan positions and solve some problems. At least we should try. If we fail.....the consequences are a nightmare.

uncleandyt 10 years, 6 months ago

The real issue is US dropping bombs on people and any prople that might get in the way. I disapprove of all this killin'. Mutually assured destruction is just that, therefore, insane. Help me. No nukey nation can nuke another nukey nation until the following sentence, where valued assets get all credibly threatened. Currently , we buy an ungodly ammount of bullets and bombs (on credit). Is that foolish enough? No, we use those bullets and bombs to kill people who weren't coming to git us, people just trying to live. There is no launch coming from Iran. The launching seems to keep coming from US. Madmike, check out Brave New Films, you'll hate it. Let's all do better things.

Brent Garner 10 years, 6 months ago

To uncleandyt:

Regrettably, your post seems a bit disjointed. I gleaned possiblly 3 themes from your post: 1) you think MAD is insane, and 2) you think the US spends too much on bombs and bullets (defense??), and 3) you think the US is the source of the evil/aggression in the world today.

  1. MAD IS insane. But when Reagan proposed a different approach--Ballistic Missile Defense--he was derided as insane, stupid, and other things which cannot be printed here. So which is it? Is it more insane to abide by MAD for now or more insane to work toward a workable BMD?

  2. Regrettably we live in a world which has a closer similarity to the Law of the Jungle. In that world the only way to keep others from attacking you is to have them so afraid of what you might do in return that they leave you alone. See my comments on deterrence. Yes, it works. Go back and read how much anti-US terrorism there was following Reagan's attack on Libya.

  3. The US is not evil. From 1945-1949 only the US possessed nuclear weapons. Had we wanted to we could have owned this planet. We did not. In fact, even during the Berlin crisis of 1948-1951 the US didn't even go to war even though the Soviet action was clearly an act of war.

I am sorry that you hate the US so much. Although we are not perfect, nor without sin/blemish, the United States IS NOT evil nor the cause of the aggression in the world today.

Munkin 10 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Garner: Your post regurgitates well the notion that MAD is actually still an accepted military doctrine. It is essentially based on protecting strategic forces, particularly economic interests. This is morally unacceptable. While your post, like many similar arguments, mentions "valued assets", "sides" and "leadership cadres", you fail to mention actual "people".

Unfortunately, many who seem to be well-versed in military history and theory make this mistake too frequently. It is too easy to wrap ourselves in a theoretical discussion of tactics and "the missle deliverable (icbm/slbm/cruise) warheads on each side" (sic) while avoiding the uncomfortably HUMAN aspect behind that.

The inherent problem in such discussions is the assumption that force is the only thing "these people" understand. Uncle Andy suggests that perhaps we should all do better things. I suggest that perhaps we should all think better thoughts.

Munkin 10 years, 6 months ago

"The US is not evil. From 1945-1949 only the US possessed nuclear weapons. Had we wanted to we could have owned this planet."

Oh... wait. You mean we don't?
God Bless America. Screw everyone else.

uncleandyt 10 years, 6 months ago

Too bad when themes go gleaned or ungleaned. Bingo, Bango, Bongo, Irving. What's it gonna be ,boy, Yes, or No? Ok, I've been convinced. I'm wrong. Bombs are fine. All your base are belong to us. Let's have a parade.

Brent Garner 10 years, 6 months ago

To Munkin:

You are correct. I used the language one normally finds in strategic discussions. I can tell you from personal experience that even though the terms used are "assets" no one responsible for those terrible weapons has forgotten that there are PEOPLE involved and who would be horribly hurt and killed. I have never heard a single person involved in strategic planning that expressed a "comfort" with MAD. Without exception each of them has wanted a way out. The problem is that to eliminate such weapons one must have a trusted and verifiable system to assure that the weapons have 1) all been accounted for, and 2) all been destroyed. To date no one has been able to solve either of those two problems. We don't trust them and they don't trust us.

Now, does MAD work? Well, has anyone used a nuclear weapon since 1945??? No. I can tell you from personal and direct observation that US doctrine in that regard is far less aggressive than what can be found in Soviet/Russian doctrinal manuals. Soviet doctrine called for first use of chemical, biological, and even tactical nuclear weapons. This is from their own manuals from which they trained their officers and leaders. So, if you were in command of the US and had to read that in official enemy documents what would you conclude? What would be your response? Frankly, I am incredibly surprised such weapons have not been used. I will also posit this, as the access to those weapons increases and as less stable/rational governments gain access to them the probability of their use rises. IF I can find a way to squeeze it in the space allowed I will post what I have read regarding the "rationallity" of the Russian and Chinese governments, whom, in this context, I would classify as rational, versus the "rationality" of regimes such as Iran, North Korea.

uncleandyt 10 years, 5 months ago

War is bad. Starting wars is extra-bad. Barbarians make me uncomfortable.

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